By: Megan Corbett
Kyle Rupnow, a graduate student in Electrical and Computer Engineering was one of four UW students to be awarded the 2010 Capstone Award, which honors high level performance over one’s teaching career.
The College of Letters and Sciences recognized Rupnow with the Capstone Award for his exceptional work in electrical and computer engineering, as well as work in computer science. Over the years, Rupnow’s students and peers alike have been impressed by his engaging and active teaching style. One student evaluator commented on Rupnow’s effort to “connect the material with real-life applications whenever possible.”
The positive reviews reflected Rupnow’s own upbeat attitude towards education. “Teaching is about more than just interaction in the classroom,” Rupnow says. He defined an effective educator as someone “knowledgeable and versatile, demanding of student achievement yet approachable and adaptable, passionate and inspiring but also reflective and sensitive to student needs.”
It was this take on education combined with praise from students and faculty that earned Rupnow the award. The Capstone award is administered by the College of Letters and Sciences, with assistance from the Graduate School. All teaching assistants are eligible for the award, but only 15 received awards from four different categories. The Capstone award celebrates achievements over one’s graduate career at the UW, while other categories celebrate innovation, exceptional service, and early excellence.
Brian Bubenzer, director of the College of Letters and Science’s Teaching Assistant Resource Center commended Rupnow and all of this year’s awards recipients. “These award-winners call attention to the fact that a teaching assistant appointment involves so much more than grading,” Bubenzer said. “The skills that are acquired and honed during a teaching assistantship mark an important progression on our graduate students’ career paths, whether they go on to teaching professions or move into nonacademic arenas.”
Rupnow received his award at a ceremony on March 2nd. His advisor, Katerine Compton, Associate Professor, his parents, and Sandra Courter attended the awards ceremony. In May, Rupnow earned the Delta Certificate in Research, Teaching, and Learning – another story!